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Author Topic: At risk of seeming super-whitebread  (Read 2840 times)
Grad Students are the Worst
Alcon
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« on: December 08, 2008, 01:04:18 am »
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$70,000 median household income is a pretty impressive total, by most estimates.  $100,000 is enough to make an area extremely affluent.

Now, maybe I'm way out of touch with modern American demographics, but it seems to me like $70,000 isn't that much money.  I'm an only child and one of my parents makes more of that.  We have a decent savings kitty, but still, I'd never consider myself anything but 'middle class.'  I know lots of families where both parents work, make >$50k, and the idea of them living in those MHI >$100k areas seems pretty darn laughable.

Why does it seem like MHI is lowballed overall?  Or am I just crazy?
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2008, 01:06:18 am »
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You're a rich.
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2008, 01:21:20 am »
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     I'm jealous now. Tongue
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Grad Students are the Worst
Alcon
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2008, 01:27:31 am »
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well...i mean...

A family of two parents who work for $30,000, which seems like a pretty working-class salary, makes $60,000.  A place with a MHI of $60,000 is usually considered pretty well-off.  I wouldn't think of a family making $60,000 between two parents as super well-off.

Although I would probably think of a single making $60,000 as quite well-off, so maybe I'm just being all intuitive and have no idea of what I'm talking about.

Now you've upset me and I want a pony.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 01:29:26 am by Alcon »Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2008, 01:36:37 am »
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Now you've upset me and I want a pony.

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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2008, 01:37:16 am »
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Now you've upset me and I want a pony.

Go get one, rich.

EDIT: I see Lunar has provided you with one.
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2008, 02:27:28 am »
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A lot of those places aren't very affluent, they just have lots of married couples, true. Those $30-40k median income places (like where I live) usually just tend to be young and single.
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Grad Students are the Worst
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2008, 03:08:44 am »
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A lot of those places aren't very affluent, they just have lots of married couples, true. Those $30-40k median income places (like where I live) usually just tend to be young and single.

Yeah, but my point is that places that are almost totally two-people families and seem solidly middle class oftentimes have MHIs around $60,000, which seems kinda low.

or am i really crazy?
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2008, 04:24:10 am »
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Well, a person's income is likely to increase with age. How old are your parents, and how old do you suppose the income-earners for these median households are?

And yes, you're really crazy. But not necessarily for this reason.
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2008, 10:44:13 am »
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A family of two parents who work for $30,000, which seems like a pretty working-class salary, makes $60,000.  A place with a MHI of $60,000 is usually considered pretty well-off.  I wouldn't think of a family making $60,000 between two parents as super well-off.

Couple of things here. Men in work, on average, earn about $10,000 than women in work (figures from 2006; c.$32k and c.$22k respectively). That's the first thing to consider; it's very unlikely that both parents will be earning the same wage. Generally the husband earns a lot more (especially if the wife is, like a majority (still) of women in work, in part-time employment). Suddenly $60,000 starts to look more like $45,000 (say). And also you shouldn't forget that, even today, a lot of women with children don't work at all.

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Although I would probably think of a single making $60,000 as quite well-off,

A single man making $60,000 is obviously a lot better off than two parents making $60,000. They have dependents; he doesn't.
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2008, 10:48:37 am »
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It also depends where you live. On most of the west coast you have to have a higher income than the average to live an average life. In the bay area you could consider people making 50-60k family income to be working class. Almost the same definition would apply to the LA area. Seattle is a bit cheaper but it is still more expensive than Lubbock,TX yadadamean. Also a lot of people in rich suburbia may have been living there for decades, back when it wasn't so rich and houses were dirt cheap.
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2008, 11:37:17 am »
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Retired families also often continue to live in their neighborhoods (although of course many move to Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, San Diego, etc., too), and they bring down the median household income despite having low living expenses (no children to raise, mortgage paid off, etc.).

Anyway, I can sympathize. I would never have considered my family rich as a child, but our household income was somewhere around $250k. Living expense account for some of it, of course; Bergen County is one of the most expensive places to live, regardless of income, in the country, up there with the Bay Area. But still.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 11:40:01 am by Verily »Logged
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2008, 11:48:04 am »
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People with higher incomes tend to dwell in higher cost housing, which eats up a large amount of income that would otherwise be available for purchasing luxuries afforded the "rich."  (60-inch LCD televisions!  Diesel jeans!  A brand new S-Class!)

They also trend towards home ownership, which is much more cost intensive in the near term (but rewarding come time for retirement).

Really, we can be talking about a family living in a $100,000 home in one area, and a family living in a $500,000 home in another.  And likely, the $500,000 home isn't really that much better than the $100,000 home.
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2008, 12:06:22 pm »
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1- I assume the median figure does not count retired households
2- I assume it does not count student households
3- I assume it does not count unemployed/underemployed
4- Does not count people in jail (lol- though a few of them may make an income off of publicity)

In other words it only counts households with at least 1 person in the workforce. If that is the case, then it does seem a little low. But even then one shouldn't equate household with "Dual Income, Kids". The numbers of single-income households likely compose not only one with stay at home parents but also the large number of households where there is only one adult, whether children are present or not. Even if 2/3 of your adult population is married, then 1/2 of your households are single income. And even if 2/3 of your 1/2 married households are Dual Income, then only 1/3 of your total households are dual income. Also however in analyzing median household income to anecdotal evidence in your own area you should put it through a cost of living adjustment.

Edit: A search of Census tables confirms that of 116 million households included in the estimate, only 59 million are married-couple family households and only 92 million are under the age of 65.

Taking a look at the distribution starting at the median ($50k) might also shed some light into the picture. It is true that more households reported income of $50-$75k than $35k-$50k (18% vs 14%). It is also true that more households reported income of $75k-$100k than $25k-$35k (12% vs 11%). Finally, more households reported income of greater than $100k than $15k-$25k (20% vs 12%). So far so good. What drags the median down is about 13% of households that report income at less than $15k.
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2008, 12:32:54 pm »
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It also depends where you live. On most of the west coast you have to have a higher income than the average to live an average life. In the bay area you could consider people making 50-60k family income to be working class. Almost the same definition would apply to the LA area. Seattle is a bit cheaper but it is still more expensive than Lubbock,TX yadadamean. Also a lot of people in rich suburbia may have been living there for decades, back when it wasn't so rich and houses were dirt cheap.
Like my father's girlfriend's father, 91 years old this month and lived all his life in Bad Soden, now one of the richest towns in Germany...

Back on topic: What Al said and ...
1- I assume the median figure does not count retired households
2- I assume it does not count student households
3- I assume it does not count unemployed/underemployed
all of them wrong assumptions.
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4- Does not count people in jail (lol- though a few of them may make an income off of publicity)
Well most neighborhoods don't have any, so in a sense yeah.

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one shouldn't equate household with "Dual Income, Kids". The numbers of single-income households likely compose not only one with stay at home parents but also the large number of households where there is only one adult, whether children are present or not. Even if 2/3 of your adult population is married, then 1/2 of your households are single income. And even if 2/3 of your 1/2 married households are Dual Income, then only 1/3 of your total households are dual income.
This. Exactly this.

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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2008, 07:56:03 pm »
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My mom actually makes more than my dad. I wonder what percentage of couples that applies to.
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2008, 09:42:44 pm »
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My dad makes around $85,000 (I'm not sure what my mom makes, since she just started, but she got a job b/c she was bored, not that we need money), but with 2 kids, we're decently well off.
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« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2008, 11:10:04 pm »
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My mom actually makes more than my dad. I wonder what percentage of couples that applies to.

My parents, at least. My mother had more than double my father's income (around $175k to his $75k) before they semi-retired. But he worked for the government, so he got all the health coverage and whatnot for the family.
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2008, 12:27:34 am »
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A lot of it has to do with the cost of living. The Seattle-Tacoma area is not that cheap. I mean, I am shocked when I realize that the median housing price in this country is only $180,000. You can't get a house in this area for that much unless you plan on living in some distant locale. I think the median price is at least double that in the Seattle area. So, maybe we do make a lot here, but it doesn't mean we're rolling in cash either.
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